Thursday, November 28, 2013

My thoughts on ADHD and other disorders of the brain and nervous system

I have been prescribed Ropinirole for Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). This is in a class of psychotropic or psychoactive drugs which include dopamine agonists and dopamine reuptake inhibitors.

Especially note the typical and very frightening "precautions," "warnings," and "side effects" sections in the following notices to consumers for this class of drugs:
Ropinirole (Requip)
Pramipexole (Mirapex, Mirapexin, Sifrol)
These drugs are so dangerous, in the opinion of the National Institutes of Health, that I will not take it. The symptoms of RLS are far more acceptable.

Now, compare the "precautions," "warnings," and "side effects" sections for above RLS drugs with common drugs used to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder):
Amphetamine (Adderall)
Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)
Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
You will note a troubling correlation between the mass shootings over the past several years and the the fact that most of the shooters were taking, or had stopped taking, these prescribed drugs. The warnings of violence as a side effect for these drugs and withdrawal therefrom is clearly based on tragic experience!

As much as 18% of America's children have been diagnosed with ADHD using a checklist of behaviors in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual -- a book whose primary reason for existence is to enable mental health professionals to bill insurance companies). However, the DSM system fails to acknowledge the existence of temperament and how it differs. The current ADHD symptoms are not clearly distinguishable from normal behavior. There is no clear evidence that ADHD symptoms are related to medically-treatable brain malfunction.

Studies do not prove that ADHD is a disorder any more than they do with normal temperamental variations. Chemical testing and brain imaging techniques have not proven anything except that everyone is different. The associations demonstrated so far have been inconsistent and are not clear as to cause, association, or consequence of the symptoms. These studies generally lack appropriate controls, who must be the same as the subjects in every way except for the dysfunctional behavior. See:
Does ADHD Exist?
ADHD Is Over-Diagnosed
ADHD Mythbusters
The mortal human body (including the brain) is not perfect. Almost everyone has some level of imperfection in the brain due to genetics, injury, malnutrition, or bad luck. In most cases, those imperfections are never made apparent, are minor in their effect, or the person learns to ignore, suppress, or compensate for the imperfection. In a few cases, medication can be helpful or even necessary because the imperfection causes dangerous behavior.

But, there is no truly scientific evidence that ADHD is a real problem that any drug can or should fix. It seems to me that a good test of the validity of ADHD as a true condition is this: Put the child in front of a TV with age-appropriate programming. Can the child focus on the programming without being drugged? Almost invariably, the answer is yes. That shows that drugging is not needed to get the child to focus.

The bottom line is that parents and teachers simply want easily-managed children. If all the children behave exactly in the same compliant manner, it makes the jobs of parenting and teaching much more convenient. To answer that flawed expectation, the health care system has outlined a process in the DSM to label non-conforming individuals and drug them into conformity. Drugs seem to be the easy way out, but they are a dangerous cop-out. As one can see from the above links, the drugs they're using can be extremely dangerous and the long-term effects is unknown.

So, what is to be done about hard-to-manage children?

In my generation and before (before modern science invented ADHD and its purported "cure") we simply learned to behave ourselves. Being raised in traditional, intact families where Mom stays home to nurture the family certainly makes a difference for those children who don't fit the mold. Unfortunately, modern education theory is rooted in the industrial revolution of the late 1800s where schools are viewed as a factory which takes in standardized parts and assembles them into standardized products via standardized processes. Too many parents have the same expectation for their children. That is not an appropriate model for educating widely variable children of God. What really bothers me is when the state (school staff and child protective services) override the God-given rights, responsibilities, and authority of parents to drug, hospitalize, and confiscate children over this vaguely understood condition.
"True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior." — President Boyd K. Packer (Ensign, May 2004, p 79)
Nobody has a drug deficiency (although drugs sometimes might be necessary to control dangerous behaviors). But, we all need to learn better behavior as President Packer suggests. Children, like adults, simply need to learn how to channel their behaviors and attention appropriately. It's called self-discipline. The prophets outline what behavior is appropriate and how to get there.

Worthwhile activities (ie not TV or computer games) that a child enjoys and where he is only compared against self or an external, achievable standard (rather than against the performance of other people as happens with children is school or team sports) can be used as opportunities to learn how to focus attention. For interested children, marksmanship is an excellent example of an individualized activity where one can learn focus and self-discipline.
"Even the best psychiatrist is like a blindfolded auto mechanic poking around under your hood with a giant foam 'We're #1' finger." — Dennis Miller (One of the brightest men alive today who, I suspect, would be drugged into mediocrity for ADHD if he were a child today.)

"Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong." — Dennis Miller

Friday, November 22, 2013

Harry Reid nukes Liberty

Until this week, the beauty of the filibuster was that it protected the voice of minority parties in the Senate.

The Democrats in the Senate have consistently used various Senate rules, includind the filibuster, or threat thereof, to block nominees of Republican presidents far more than the Republicans have used any tool whatsoever to block Democrat appointees. Yet, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid cherry-picked statistics to dishonestly claim that only the Right exploits these tools to block appointees.

This week, Reid and the other Democrats in the Senate changed the age-old rule requiring a super majority to end a filibuster. With this week's vote, only a simple majority vote can end a filibuster. That makes it much easier for majority parties to get their agenda and their political appointees (including lifetime appointment for federal judges) past the Senate.

One must remember that Senate confirmation of all presidential nominees is mandated by the Constitution. Why would the Constitution mandate a confirmation process if the Senate simply rubber-stamps all nominees? The answer is found in Article 6 of the Constitution wherein senators and all other elected, appointed, and employed public officials are required to swear an oath to protect the Constitution from its enemies -- politicians, judges and other appointees, and bureaucrats who seek to undermine and destroy the Constitution and the individual Liberties it would protect if followed.

It appears to me that the Leftists in DC (Reid, Obama, Holder, etc.) understand that they may not always be able to overwhelm the nation with Marxist programs, anti-Constitution judges, and other anti-Liberty political appointees with the too-reliable help of give-em-what-they-want senators like Orrin Hatch and John McCain. Reid is once again telling Republicans that the Democrat thieves intend to win at all cost. He is reminding Republicans that Democrat politicians have never played fair in the game of politics and that they never will; that Democrat politician have always lied about their agenda; that they've lied about their past, and that their voters are often fictitious, ineligible, dead, vote multiple times, etc.

Republican politicians still are ignoring those messages. I expect that they always will. Republicans must continue to play fair. But thy must also play to win. That means they must learn to never compromise with evil on any any issue. So long as Republicans compromise with evil, they will fail to earn the respect of the voters.

The Left seems to think that time is short before the American voters finally pull themselves away from the mall and American Idol long enough to acknowledge what's going on in DC and state capitols around the Union. So, the political thugs on the Left are now using ever more brute force to push through their agenda and, most especially, anti-Liberty judges-for-life before the voters finally respond to the hundred-year-old wake-up call.

Unlike what those political thugs on the Left seem to think, I don't think the voters will wake up very soon. Few voters know the many significant differences between the big-government, immoral agenda of Democrat Party Platform and the individual-liberty, God-respecting agenda Republican Party Platform.

Most Americans think that they are free if the government still allows them get to the mall with politically-correct security rules, check their NSA-screened Facebook page, buy government-approved cars, send their kids to government schools, communicate in English, and get their various government benefits.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. -- Thomas Jefferson
We need smarter voters.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A gun magazine and one of its writers betray gun rights!

Count me among those who are disgusted by Dick Metcalf's recent essay supporting gun control. It reads like what I'd expect from the Brady Bunch, Eric Holder, the New York Times, or a middle-school student writing assignment. It appears that Metcalf has spent too much time rubbing elbows with Leftist so-called "journalists".

Unfortunately, I must remind Guns & Ammo and Metcalf of a key phrase used by the Founders when speaking of rights: "...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

If, as the Guns & Ammo staff apparently believes, rights come from government, then those rights certainly are alienable and can be manipulated at will by government. These rights are known as "positive rights." What could be wrong with "positive"? Because "positive" rights are found in a list of rights a benevolent government chooses to endow -- until they are rescinded. Beyond that list, you have no rights.
,br> However, if rights come from the Creator (God or nature, take your pick) as the Founders understood, then government has no authority to list, manipulate, or rescind those rights. You see, our rights come from our divine status as as children of God -- not as subjects of the state. That's why the founders used the word "unalienable"! These rights are generally known as "natural rights" and no list of God's gift of natural rights can possibly be complete, hence the Ninth Amendment.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. — Ninth Amendment to the US Constitution.

A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate. — Thomas Jefferson (A Summary View of the Rights of British America)

The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God. — John F Kennedy
The fact that American voters have unwisely elected politicians who infringe on our God-given rights does not mean that those rights should be infringed. The fact that politicians and judges unlawfully (the Constitution is the "supreme law of the land") persistently and often successfully usurp power to alienate our "unalienable rights" does not mean that they have legitimate power to do so. It only means that we have too many unwise and ignorant voters.

Nearly every voter, nearly every politician, and nearly every judge thinks that he or she has all the answers to solve all the problems of the world and should therefore have power to impose their presumed perfect solutions upon the People. The Constitution is written specifically to limit the power of such well-intended and self-presumed wise people. That document is designed to limit their intrusion in, and power over, the lives of responsible people to the absolute minimum -- to leave us alone!

Metcalf's argument regarding shouting fire in a crowded theater and human sacrifice are silly. Those acts are not protected by the First Amendment because they are inherently evil, irresponsible assaults (malum in se) on the rights of others -- not because some group of politicians chose to outlaw them (malum prohibitum).

Metcalf argues that since driving is a "privilege" and since drivers must be trained and licensed, it is appropriate to impose similar limits on gun owners implying that firearm ownership is a "privilege". I must remind Metcalf and his fellow staff at Guns & Ammo that driver education and licensing came several years after our grandparents started owning and driving cars. Yes, owning and using a motor vehicle used to be a right -- not a privilege -- just as riding a horse or driving a buggy was a right before the advent of the horseless carriage (and still is in most jurisdictions). That right was converted to a privilege only because Americans elected politicians who were eager to manipulate the right to move freely around the land.

Metcalf and those at Guns & Ammo who approved the publishing of his essay clearly do not understand that the clear and unmistakable wording of the Constitution must be interpreted as it was understood by those who wrote and ratified it -- not according to modern understanding of the words they used. The plain wording or the Bill of Rights make it obvious that none of the first ten amendments grant any rights -- they simply acknowledge those God-given rights and prohibit government from interfering with them.

For example use of the words "well-regulated militia" were not used in the Second Amendment to stipulate that the ownership and use of arms (the Second Amendment addresses "arms" -- all weapons -- not just firearms) was to be regulated by government or that the ownership and use of arms was limited to military forces. Instead, the founders understood that a "well-regulated militia" is one which is disciplined. Remember that, according to the law and tradition, the militia is the People -- not merely the National Guard or any other formal military force.
A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves...and include all men capable of carrying arms....To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms....The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle. — Richard Henry Lee, Additional Letters From The Federal Farmer, 1788

I ask, who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officials. — George Mason at Virginia's US Constitution ratification convention, 1788
I challenge Dick Metcalf and the entire staff at Guns & Ammo to study the Constitution (I suspect none of you have ever even read it from start to finish) -- especially the Bill of Rights. Note how the Constitution was carefully written to limit the central government's power over our lives. Note how the Bill of Rights was carefully written to tell the government to keep its hands entirely off our God-given rights. Note that there is absolutely no room in the wording of the Bill of Rights for compromise or arbitrary "regulation."

I also challenge Metcalf to identify at least one gun restriction that has been effective in achieving its purported objective. He surely must recognize that the primary impact of all gun control has been on those who are not a criminal threat.
Gun control shifts the equation in favor of the criminal. — Judge Robert Bork

If gun control worked, the District of Columbia would have no violence and yet it is the murder capitol of the planet. — Phil Graham, US Senator
If, as Metcalf claims, government has authority to restrict the ownership and use of arms, where would Metcalf like to draw the line on that authority and how would he propose to force government to honor that limit? That said, know that the Founders already drew the line: "The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American. — Tench Coxe

The right is absolute...government has no authority to forbid me from owning a firearm...the debate is not about guns. It is about freedom. — Tom McClintock, California State Senator, 9 Jun 2001

A free man must have unrestricted rights to own and use personal weapons, in the defense of his family, his home, and his own person, against any kind of marauder -- whether the marauder be a soldier of an invading army, or an agent of an internal political conspiracy, or a criminal. — (Dan Smoot Report, 16 Mar 1964)
Guns & Ammo and Dick Metcalf have shown to the world that they are not worthy of being spokesmen for the shooting community or of a freedom-loving people. I will allow my Guns & Ammo subscription to expire unless the entire Guns & Ammo staff makes appropriate corrections in its poor understanding of rights and issues a full and sincere apology. Metcalf, in particular, owes the world a full-page apology for his misguided full-page essay. I won't go as far as demanding Metcalf's head or termination. I hate to see him scapegoated. The fact that his essay was published indicates there is deep-rooted ignorance regarding the Constitution among multiple high-level people at Guns & Ammo.
If the price I must pay for my freedom is to acknowledge that the government was granted the power to infringe on them, then I am not free. — Pol Anderson